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China hosts Silk Road summit in shadow of N.Korea missile

The Belt and Road initiative is a mammoth trade and commerce plan launched by the Chinese government to stimulate economic growth and development across Asia and beyond through the construction of a sophisticated network of infrastructure in participating countries.

President Xi Jinping greeted leaders from 29 nations for the two-day summit in Beijing after US and South Korean military officials confirmed that Pyongyang had launched a ballistic missile.

Xi announced that China would invest an additional $124 billion into countries and projects linked to OBOR. The China Development Bank has earmarked $890 billion for some 900 projects.

Speaking before an audience that included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Xi said his government has "no desire to impose our will on others".

In a reminder of potential security threats, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile Sunday that flew for a half-hour and reached an unusually high altitude of 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles).

The opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for global ooperation is held in the National Convention Center in Beijing.

Xi used a summit on the initiative, attended by leaders and top officials from around the world, to bolster China's global leadership ambitions as U.S. President Donald Trump promotes "America First" and questions existing global free trade deals.

Sought for comment on how China's promise to pour in billions of dollars for projects under the One Belt, One Road initiative could help developing countries like the Philippines, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said this could be through enhanced trade and more investments going to the Philippines.

He said his government will provide aid worth 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) to developing countries and global organizations.

In addition, the CDB and the China EximBank will set up special lending schemes respectively worth 250 billion yuan equivalent and 130 billion yuan equivalent to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing, he said.

A pool photograph of the opening ceremony at which Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech, showed Kim arriving together with White House adviser Matt Pottinger, the US representative to the talks.

The prime minister said that OBOR could be regarded as a powerful tool for overcoming terrorism and extremism.

China, which has been angered by North Korea's repeated missile and nuclear tests, said on Saturday in reaction to the US complaint that all were welcome at the Silk Road forum. "It should change the very political and economic landscape of the continent bringing Eurasia stability, prosperity".

Sunday's forum is being held near Beijing's Olympic Park - the site of the 2008 games - as the city enjoys the type of splendid weather China's leaders have shown themselves adept at creating on demand when needed for political events.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday met Prime Minister Sharif and asserted that China-Pakistan relations remain a priority for Beijing.

But few Western leaders are attending the event.

There are also worries that countries involved could be burdened with huge debt, as most of the funds are loans, rather than grants.

Xi also announced an additional $9.5 billion for developing countries and worldwide organisations participating in the initiative to improve people's well-being over the next three years. New Delhi lays claim to the region.

Xi focused on his initiative, boasting that it represented a "road for peace", but he cautioned "all countries should respect each others' sovereignty. and territorial integrity".



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